You might run across a person now and then (uh hum…me for instance) who holds the belief that their extensive experience of painting a wall or two at one point in their past somehow uniquely qualifies them to redo an entire house. Such an overly optimistic person might find themselves rather thunderstruck when they are faced with the actual figures that an adventure like that is likely to cost. Not that I would know. To that person, I would offer these seven suggestions of how to save some of the money that seems to disappear like the wind during a home renovation.
- Do as much of the work yourself as you possibly can. Just because you’ve never done it before, doesn’t mean you can’t do it. Most likely you lack the knowledge, not the physical ability….two very different things. Neither the Mister nor myself had ever ripped out flooring, installed counter tops, replaced sinks, or so much as painted a wood wall (which is a different animal altogether from painting drywall) before this home renovation. Knowledge is free, unlike paid labor. Let Google, blogs, Pinterest, and U-tube become your best friends. Don’t be scared to research the information and just try.
- Keep anything in the house that is usable. If you’re trying to save money, resist the urge to just gut and dump. If money had been no object, I would have scraped out the kitchen and started from scratch….as it was, there was nothing actually wrong with the cabinets that paint couldn’t fix. It took a lot of work, but it saved us literately thousands of dollars to keep what was still in good shape. We kept any wood that was cut out, and have already reused much of the old boards elsewhere…saving us still more money. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.
- If buying new appliances, buy them all at one time if possible. We had to purchase all new appliances for the kitchen and a washer and dryer, so we shopped around to find the best deal. Most places will give you a discount of some kind if you are buying over a certain amount. Find the place with the best deal, and buy it all at once. It worked out for us to buy everything from Sears, but it all depends on the sales different stores are running and what you actually want to buy.
- Get smart about paint. Assuming you are following the advice in #1 and doing as much work yourself as possible…you’ll probably find yourself with a paint brush in hand at some point. Paint is touted as one of the cheapest ways to update a house, and it probably is, but it can also get out of your mind expensive real quick if you don’t know what you are doing. Buy good brushes that will last through the entire year’s (decade maybe?) worth of painting for starters. Don’t skimp on the good stuff if you need to prime…you’ll regret it if your wood walls start bleeding through your $150 dollar paint job. Learn to paint without painters tape. Use “oops” paint (pre-mixed returned paint sold at a steep discount) from the hardware store as much as possible, or mix your own from left overs to save cash.
- Bite off what you can chew. Don’t start fourteen different in-depth projects at one time. Do a section at a time. Don’t get ahead of yourself. The contractor we used was so kind, he offered to just finish everything on our list and we could pay him “whenever”. As tempting as that offer was, I said no thank you. We didn’t need to have the whole house done by Friday, and we didn’t need work done that we weren’t prepared to pay for either. There’s no reason to cause un-do strain on your family by biting off too big a bite.
- Chew what you bite, ’till it’s gone. Early on in our reno, the Mister and I caught ourselves buying supplies for things that were left sitting around, because we already had too much going on to get to them. We decided no more buying supplies until everything was used up that we has already bought. Once we had finished everything we had started, we could move on to something else. This saves money because you aren’t throwing it at different things at once. Spend money on one thing, and then get it done.
- Hire professionals when the need calls for it. There is no sense at all in installing a brand new oven if you know it’s going to short out a week later due to old wiring. Save yourself the grief of paying for things twice by avoiding unwise shortcuts. Some projects just don’t pay off to do yourself once you’ve gone out and bought all the tools needed. We needed a new concrete floor poured in our living room, and by the time we could have purchased everything to do it, the cost would have been well above what a floor guy was quoiting us. Know when to cut your losses and hire the work out.
I’m sure there’s many more things I could add to this list, some of which I may not have even learned yet! Oh. joy. Do any of you more seasoned DIY’ers have any words of wisdom to share from your own experiences?
P.S. You can see more about my kitchen HERE.
Jeremiah 17:7 Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is.
Linking to: THESE great blogs Between Naps on the Porch